Google+

Ramblers Book Review

Ramblers: Loyola Chicago 1963 15817037
The Team That Changed the Color of College Basketball
by Michael Lenehan
Agate Midway Books
Paperback, $16.00
308 pages, Illustrated
ISBN: 978-1-57284-140-6

Book Review by Kam Williams

“Was there a time when civil rights protesters could be attacked by a club-wielding mob while police officers stood by? When the president of the United States had to mobilize 30,000 federal troops to put down an armed insurrection prompted by the enrollment of a single black man at a state university?

There was… Here’s a story about the integration and evolution of college basketball, set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, one of the most convulsive periods of our nation’s history… My aim here is to persuade you that a pivotal moment in that transition was the improbable championship of the Loyola Ramblers, a black-and-white team that opened a lot of eyes and stirred a lot of hearts.”

— Excerpted from Introduction (pages 14-15) 

Founded by Jesuit priests in 1870, Loyola Chicago is a prestigious, Catholic college located on the Windy City’s west side. Between its academic orientation and modest student size, the institution is not one would normally associate with athletics. 

However, in 1963, the school garnered some unexpected headlines when its men’s basketball team, the Ramblers, earned a berth in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament alongside perennial powerhouses Duke, Oregon State and Cincinnati. Not content just to make it to the big dance, upstart Loyola went on to defeat the two-time defending champion, Cincinnati. 

En route to the title game, the Ramblers also beat Mississippi State, an all- white team that had never faced any African-American opponents before because of a strict school policy forbidding competing against any African- Americans. So, giving Mississippi State a butt-kicking in front of their racist fans during the Sweet Sixteen round was likely fulfilling enough for Loyola. 

Note that just before the season had started, James Meredith had made history as the first black student ever to enroll at Ole Miss. That triggered an armed white insurrection which was only quelled after President Kennedy sent down thousands of federal troops. 

Meredith went on to graduate but was shot in the head a few years later while leading a voter registration march in rural Mississippi. Fortunately, he would recover from his wounds and eventually earn a law degree from Columbia University. 

The civil rights movement is indirectly the focus of Ramblers, a fascinating opus about an integrated team of talented and dignified young men who not only ascended to the top of their sport but simultaneously helped change the color of college basketball once and for all. The book recounts in riveting detail how the Loyola players maintained their composure despite being spat on, cursed at and showered with garbage during NCAA Tournament contests hosted across the South including the Final Four on the floor of the ironically-named Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Written by veteran journalist Michael Lenehan, an award-winning editor at the Atlantic and the Chicago Reader, Ramblers is a worthwhile read chronicling a memorable upset and, perhaps more importantly, a triumph of character over cowardice that had repercussions way beyond the basketball court.

To order a copy of Ramblers, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/
1572841400/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Entertainment

For movies opening August 18, 2017

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening August 18, 2017 BIG BUDGET FILMS The Hitman's Bodyguard (R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity) Unlikely-buddies comedy about an ace bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) who grudgingly helps a notorious assassin (Samuel … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Book of Black Heroes

  Book of Black Heroes Political Leaders Past and Present by Gil L. Robertson, IV Foreword by Myrlie Evers-Williams Just Us Books Paperback, $12.95 80 pages ISBN: 978-1-933491-21-9 Book Review by Kam Williams “The first African-American political leaders began to serve following the Civil War...Known as Reconstruction, this period … [Read More its Good For You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017

  Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017 by Amy Lignor   The term ‘meteoric rise’ usually applies to something fun. Think: A Hollywood actor who has been ‘discovered.’) Unfortunately, when it comes to this article, ‘meteoric rise’ is something that will not bring a smile to one’s face. To put it simply, if you wish to refinance … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

The “King” Will Take Center Stage at the 2017 Wildlife Conservation Expo

  The “King” Will Take Center Stage at the 2017 Wildlife Conservation Expo by Amy Lignor   Each and every year the Wildlife Conservation Expo is held to address situations out there that are harming our world and its animal inhabitants. This time around, WCN’s annual Fall Wildlife Conservation Expo in October, will be focusing on … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

How Bassmaster Pro Edwin Evers Adjusts the Auto Settings on His Sonar

  How Bassmaster Pro Edwin Evers Adjusts the Auto Settings on His Sonar  by Edwin Evers When it comes to electronics, a question I get asked a lot is, “How do you customize your fish finder settings at the beginning of a day on the water?” The short answer is, “I don’t.”   You might think that a guy who makes his living with a … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

College Football Arriving Soon!

  College Football Arriving Soon! by Amy Lignor   Ask any college football fan and they will tell you that it seems like an eternity waiting for the season to begin. But, have no fear, the kick-off to the college season is almost here, with Colorado State and Oregon State hitting the field on Saturday, August 26th at 2:30 p.m. ET. On … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Book of Black Heroes

  Book of Black Heroes Political Leaders Past and Present by Gil L. Robertson, IV Foreword by Myrlie Evers-Williams Just Us Books Paperback, $12.95 80 pages ISBN: 978-1-933491-21-9 Book Review by Kam Williams “The first African-American political leaders began to serve following the Civil War...Known as Reconstruction, this period … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Going Back in Time on the Ultimate Steamboat Vacation

  Going Back in Time on the Ultimate Steamboat Vacation by Amy Lignor   Many people love taking a cruise. But it is the river cruise on that glorious steamboat that not only offers all the benefits a big ocean liner offers, but also creates a more personalized, intimate vacation experience. It is a unique recipe: being able to witness … [Read More its Good for You...]